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Various operations can be performed on the relations you add for the purpose of modeling. You can also edit the relations, for example, to change their appearance. Below is an overview of the possibilities.

Which operations can be performed in a model depends on the modeling language or method of the model, some may not be available.

On this page:

Changing the relation type

The relation type can be changed by right-clicking the relation in the view and clicking Change relation type.

Change the type of a relation

Specifying the preferred relation type

It is possible to specify the preferred relation type via ArchiMate > Concepts and Relations in the ribbon. For each combination of concepts, the preferred relation type can be specified.

Reverting the relation direction

The relation's direction can be changed by right-clicking the relation in the view or the model browser and then clicking Reverse relation.

Removing a relation

You can remove a relation from a model by deleting it from the model browser. Doing so also removes all reference objects in all views to this relation.

You can remove (an appearance of) a relation from a view by selecting it and pressing Delete. This will only remove the relation from the view and not from the model. If you remove the relation in a view, the relation is removed from both the view and the model.

Adding text to a relation

It is possible to add text to a relation. Text is added by selecting a relation in the diagram or view and directly typing the text. The labels can be positioned at the line by using the Attach Label function in the Layout group of the Home ribbon tab.

Changing the relation line color, width, and style

Relations can be given their own line color, line width, and line style. By default, relations are colored black and drawn with a narrow line. To adjust the line width and line style, use the Line Weight and Line Style commands on the Home tab. To change the line color, select the relation in the diagram or view and click Home > Line color in the ribbon. In the window that appears, select the desired color.

Adding an image to a relation

It is possible to add images to relations. Images can, for example, represent the type of relation. To add an image, select the relation in the diagram or view and click Home > Image in the ribbon. In the window that appears you can select the image that you want to add.

The image can be resized. The position of the image can be changed by clicking the image and dragging it to the desired place on the relation line, or elsewhere in the diagram or view.

Added images are not saved with the model. Whenever you copy a model, you must also copy the self-added images.

Adding breakpoints to a relation line

It is not always possible to draw well-ordered models with only straight relation lines and arrows. In such cases, you can insert breakpoints. Each breakpoint creates an angle or curve in the line. Breakpoints are also needed if you want to draw a cyclic relation from an object to itself.

Breakpoints can be added in the following ways:

  • First, draw the relation in a straight line. Then select the relation, click the point in the line where you want the breakpoint and drag the line while holding down the mouse button. An angle is created.
  • While drawing the line, click directly on the point where you want to create a breakpoint. Next, a breakpoint is created. Then continue drawing the line. Each time you click, a breakpoint is created. This method is especially useful for drawing cyclic relations.
  • Hold down the Ctrl key while drawing the line. If the two objects you want to connect, are not in a straight line relative to each other, a breakpoint is created automatically.

By clicking an existing breakpoint while holding down the Ctrl key, you can remove it again. However, the breakpoint will also automatically disappear when you straighten the line on the breakpoint.

If you want the tool to automatically create angles in a line when you draw a relation, use the Right-angled lines function.

Specifying the line curvature

At the Graphics options, you can specify whether the breakpoints in relations must be right-angled or curved with the Use line curves check box. If the box is selected, the breakpoints will be curved, if the box is clear, right angles are used. Below are two examples:


Right-angled breakpoint (left) and curved breakpoint (right)

Using junctions

In the ArchiMate® language, all relations are categorized into two categories: structural relations and behavioral relations. Examples of structural relations are specialization and aggregation; the behavioral relations are flow and trigger. By using these behavioral relations you can model the dynamics of the enterprise architecture, for example, process handling in the business layer and data flows within the application layer. Branches (splits) in triggering and flow could be modeled in one of two ways:


Relations without junction (left) and with AND junction (right)

On the left, the process Pay as well as the process Inform customer can only take place if Accept claim has been finished completely.

At the right, the same has been modeled and in addition to this, the black square (the so-called AND junction) indicates that both Pay and Inform customer take place if Accept claim has completed.

Besides the AND junction the OR junction is also available. I it indicates that only one of the outgoing branches actually takes place. The AND junction and the OR junction are used to model both splits and joins.

Creating relations via the cross-reference table

Relations can also be created without drawing them explicitly. This is possible by using the Relations Cross-reference table, in which you can create and remove relations. This way relations are created without being drawn in a view. When the related objects are subsequently dragged onto a view, the relations will also be drawn and become visible. For more information on working with the table, see The Relations cross-reference table.

ArchiMate® is a registered trademark of The Open Group.